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Syllabus of International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2022

1 General Notes

1. Extensive contents in basic astronomical concepts are required in theoretical and pratical problems.
2. Basic concepts in physics and mmathematics at high school level are required in solving the problems. Standard solutions should not involves extensive use of calculus and/or the use of complex numbers and/or solving differential equations. However, students would find it useful to be familiar with simple differentiation with respect to single variable and simple integration.
3. Astronomical software packages may be used in practical and observational prob- lems. The contestants will be informed the list of software package to be used at least 3 months in advace. The chosen software packages shoulde be preferably freewares or low-cost ones enabling all countries to obtain them easily for prac- tice purpose. The chosen softwares should preferablu be available on multiple OSs (Windows/Unix/Linux/Mac).
4. Concepts and phenomena not included in the Syllabus may be used in questions but sufficient information must be given in the questions so theh contestants without previous knowledge of these topics would not be at a disadvantage.
5. Sophisticated practical equipment likely to be unfamiliar to the candidates should not dominate a problem. If such devices are used in the questions, sufficient in- formation must be provided. In such case, students should be given opportunity to familiarise themselves with such equipments.
6. The original texts of the problemns have to be set in the SI units, whereever applicable. Participants will be expected to mentions, appropriate inits in their answers and should be familiar with the idea of correct rounding off and express- ing the final result(s) and error(s) with correct number of significant digits.

2 Theoretical Part

Symbol (Q) is attached to some topics in the list. It means qualitative understanding only. Quantitative reasoning/proficiency in the topics is not mandatory.
The following theoretical contents are proposed for the contestants:

Basics Astrophysics

Contents Remarks
Celestial Mechanics Newton’s Law of Gravitation, Kepler’s Law for circular and non-circular orbits, Roche limit, barycenter, 2-body problem, Lagrange points
Electromagnetic Theory & Quantum Physics Electromagnetic spectrum, radiation law, blackbody radiation, doppler effect
Thermodynamics Thermodynamic equilibrium, ideal gas, en- ergy transfer
Spectroscopy and Atomic Physics Absorption, emission, scattering, spectra of celestial objects, line formations, continuum spectra, splitting and broadening of spectral lines, polarisation
Nuclear Physics Basic concepts including structure of atom, mass defect and binding energy, radioactivity, neutrinos (Q)

Coordinates and Times

Contents Remarks
Celestial Sphere Spherical trigonometry, celestial coordinates and their applications, equinox and solstice, circumpolar stars, constellations and zodiac
Concept of Time Solar time, sidereal time, julian date, helio- centric julian date, time zone, universal time, local mean time, different definitions of year, equation of time

Solar System

Contents Remarks
The Sun Solar structure, solar surface activities, solar rotation, solar radiation and solar constant. solar neutrinos (Q), Sun-Earth relations, role of magnetic fields (Q), solar wind and radia- tion pressure, heliosphere (Q), magnetosphere (Q)
The Solar System Earth-Moon System, precession, nutatuin, li- bration, formation and evolution of solar sys- tem (Q), structure and components of solar system (Q), structure and orbits of the solar system objects, sidereal and synodic periods, retrograde motion, outer reaches of the solar system (Q)
Space Exploration Satellite trajectorues and transfers, human exploration of the solar system (Q), plane- tary missions (Q), sling-shot effect of gravity, space-based instruments (Q)
Phenomena Tides, seasons, eclipses, auroras (Q), meteor showers


Contents Remarks
Stellar Properties Methods of distance determination, radia- tion, luminosity and magnitude, color indices and temperature, determination of radii and masses, stellar motion, irregular and regular stellar variables, physics of pulsation (Q)
Stellar Interior and Atmospheres Stellar equilibrium, stellar nucleosynthesis, energy transportation (Q), boundary condi- tion, stellar atmospheres and spectra
Stellar Evolution Stellar formation, Hertzprung-Russell dia- gram, pre-main sequence stars, post-main se- quence stars, supernovae, planetary nebulae, end states of stars

Stellar Systems

Contents Remarks
Binary Star Systems Differe types of binary stars, mass determina- tion in binary star systems, light and radial velocity curves of eclipsing binary systems, doppler shifts in binary systems, interacting binaries, peculiar binary systems
Exoplanets Exoplanet hunting techniques
Star Clusters Classification and structure, mass, age, lumi- nosity and distance determination
Milky Way Galaxy Structure and composition, rotation, satellites of Milky Way
Interstellar Medium Gas (Q), dust (Q), HII regions, 21cm radia- tion, nebulae (Q), interstellar absorption, dis- persion measure, faraday rotation
Galaxies Classifications based on structure, composi- tion and activity, mass, luminosity and dis- tance determination, rotation curves
Accretion Processes Basic concepts (spherical and disc accretion) (Q), Eddington luminosity


Contents Remarks
Elementary Cosmology Expanding universe and Hubble’s Law, clus- ter of galaxies, cosmic micorwave background radiation, Big Bang (Q), alternative models of the universe (Q), large scale structure (Q), distance measurement at cosmological scale, cosmological redshift


Contents Remarks
Multi-wavelength Astronomy Observations in radio, microwave, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, X-ray, gamma-ray, Earth’s atmospheric effects
Instrumentation Telescopes and detectors (e.g. CCD, pho- tometers, spectrographs), magnification, focal length, resolving and light gathering power, geometric model of two element interferome- ter, aperture sythesis, adaptive optics

3 Practical Part
This part consists of 2 sections: observations and data analysis sections. The theoret- ical part of the Syllabus provides the basis for all problems in the practical part.


Observations section focuses in contestant’s experience in:
1. Naked-eye observations.
2. Usage of sky maps and catalogues.
3. Application of coordinate systems in the sky, magnitude and angular size esti- mation.
4. Usage if basic astronomical instruments (telescopes and detectors) for observa- tions but sufficient instructuins must be provided to the contestants.
Observational objects may be from real sources in the sky or imitated sources in the laboratory. Computer simulations may be used in the problems, but sufficient instructions must be provided to the contestants.

Data Analysis

The data analysis section focuses on the calculation and analysis of the astronomical data provided in the problems. Additional requirements are as follows:
1. Proper identification of error sources, calculation of errors, and estimation of their influence on the final results.
2. Proper use of graph paper with different scales, e.g. polar and logarithmic paper. Transformation of the data to get linear plot and finding best fit line approxi- mately.
3. Basic statistical analysis of the observational data.
4. Knowledge of the most common experimental techniques for measureing physical quantities mentioned in Theoretical Section.

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